Friday, January 18, 2013

Six more weeks!!!

Six more weeks.  It will be spring, maybe.  (You never know in Wisconsin). We will be getting close to Easter. There will be warmer breezes, and maybe even a few tulips braving the cold to give us hope that spring is just around the corner. I really don't mind winter. I actually love staying home on a really cold, snowy day, with the fire going and a big pot of soup or chili simmering.  And sewing.

Another thing that will have to happen in six more weeks is a new blood test.  I got back my results from my lipid panel yesterday, and all I can say is Rats!!! Darn it!!!!  It wasn't pretty.  I knew it was a little high, as it has been the past few years, but I felt that was due to the extra weight.  Last year it was 230, but now it came in at 251. Yikes.  And I have actually lost a few pounds over the last year.  I would love to post nothing but happy, wonderful things about my happy, wonderful life all the time, but as we all know, everyone has challenges and difficulties.  I will never pretend to be anything but who I am. This is just a little, teeny, tiny, dark cloud on my horizon.  But that's ok, I'll turn this  negative into a positive. . . and perhaps inspire someone else to take a second look at their lifestyle.  

I am one of those people who is always waiting  to lose those last ten or twenty pounds.  "Once I lose my weight I'll feel better.  I will finally be able to fit in all those clothes I have been saving. I'll feel like exercising more because I will be lighter and stronger and won't feel so blah."  The list goes on and on.  Always starting the next Monday with a new resolve to be healthier.  I truly did believe I would somehow lose those dreaded pounds. Now it looks like I really have to, or go on a medication.  Oh, I know, I know, tons of people are on meds for high cholesterol - including my mom.  I also know that with every med you take there are potential side effects, and I would rather not take a medicine if I don't have to.  Of course, if I need it, I'll take it. I need thryoid meds so I take them.  When I have my every-other-month ear or sinus infection, I take antibiotics. Simple.  
I have never had a weight issue, except when pregnant.  With the first pregnancy I stopped weighing a week before giving birth and I had already gained 51 pounds. I was literally eating for two - two adults that is! The second baby was just 20 months later so I didn't gain quite as much, probably due to running around after baby #1. The third baby, 2-1/2 years after that, well, I think I only gained about 32 pounds. Finally, 4 years later with baby #4, I only gained 26 pounds and looked like one of those cute pregnant women who only gained weight in the front.  It was great.  Hardly any weight to lose after the baby, and nursing took care of that little bit! Gosh, I was pregnant for about 8 years! It was well worth it though.

Years later, my doctor put me on Paxil.  I have struggled with anxiety issues all my life I suspect. I think my dad and grandma also did, so some of it is probably genetic.  I imagine having 4 kids in 8 years, although wonderful, contributed a little bit of stress. 

I actually wanted about 6 or 8 kids. 
I wanted to be one of those women who lived on a farm out in the country and survive year round with food from my bountiful gardens, canning and freezing the surplus for winter, making my own bread, raising chickens for my own eggs. I would hang clothes on the line, cook from scratch, make handmade quilts and dolls and clothing for my children, create handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays.  Maybe I'm just a little crazy. I guess I shouldn't have watched so much Little House on The Prairie.

I also was not in a happy marraige, and I guess the combination of everything just set the stage for anxiety problems.   I did get to have four wonderful kids, and actually did spend my life crafting and creating and hanging clothes on the line.  I still make homemade bread and jam and eat from my garden.  I finally was able to have chickens!  I never did get the sheep to spin my own wool.  

So, now what?  Well, since I don't want to go on another drug, I will take matters into my own hands. I will give myself 6 weeks to try to bring the number down.  If I can't do it - well then I guess I will have to go on the meds. Honestly, if I was going to go on anything I would go on something for the anxiety, but I continue to struggle with it and try to find ways to handle it that don't require meds.  I think I am more afraid of getting off a med than being on it.  I don't want to be addicted and have to have something. Going off the Paxil was absolutely horrible for me.

I don't think I have a lot of weight to lose, but I am definitely heavier than I was.  I was very thin at times. I wasn't trying to be thin, I was just such a busy little thing I didn't sit still for long.  Here I am at my normal thin weight when I first married John, in 1998. I weighed 117.

I went on Paxil for the anxiety, and within a few years I was up to 189.  Wow.  I just calculated it to be 72 pounds. Yikes.  Here I am with my HaileyBelle at my highest weight. Looking at this picture it is hard to believe I gained that much, but I know I did.  And I felt absolutely awful, both physically and emotionally.  After being told I was now diabetic, my cholesterol was up, and all my joints were complaining carrying the extra weight, as well as having stomach issues and asthma, I made the decision to get off Paxil. The doctors and drug companies claimed Paxil did NOT cause weight gain, but clearly, for me it did. All I wanted to do was eat, and any efforts to lose weight were unsuccessful. 

Fast forward to today.  I weigh 145 right now, down 44 pounds from my all time high. I definitely could lose a little weight.  I don't care to be runway model thin, or hate the way I look.  I look alright.   I just can't wear some of the cute clothes I used to wear because I don't like the muffin top hanging over.  I also have Dunlap disease.  Have you heard of it?  That's when your belly done lapped over your pants!   Sorry, I couldn't resist. :) This picture was the party after Baby Ellie's baptism last month.

Starting today, I am going to eat a much healthier diet, and am searching for natural ways to reduce cholesterol. I have found a few I can incorporate right away. Cinnamon is supposed to bring down your cholesterol.  Of course I wonder what putting it on toast with lots of butter and sugar will do? Just kidding. :)  I'll put it in oatmeal, another good thing to eat to reduce cholesterol.  I'll try to eat the right foods and cut down on red meats and baked goods.  I will  exercise daily. A friend of mine went to a nutritionist who recommended red yeast  rice as a supplement instead of regular meds and she DID INDEED bring down her cholesterol. My only challenge is that whole grains, raw fruits and veggies, and fiber do not agree with my stomach, so it is going to be a bit tricky to find the right foods I can tolerate.  Even an apple can put me in misery, but maybe just eating a little at a time and gradually  increasing might work.

So here I go, and I am bringing you all along for the ride. If you want to get off that's quite alright, I would totally understand.  I am truly hoping that I can do this. I am also hoping that some of you out there might get your cholesterol checked, because you just never know what you might find out. I was really unaware of how high my levels were. You know the expression, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well, I would like to prevent any further health problems.

 Do you want to hear something funny?  I have anxiety about so many things, dumb things, things that normal people wouldn't think twice about.  But the one thing that most people dread, getting blood drawn, or needles in general, doesn't bother me a bit.  You could take my blood every single day and I wouldn't even blink.  I just think that is so ironic.

So six more weeks.  I hope that I will have lost enough weight to bring down that cholesterol number.  I have a lot of people, and animals, depending on my being around for a while.  I encourage all of you reading this to keep up your yearly mammograms, paps, and physicals.  Find out what your numbers are, and if they need improvement - get busy!  I hope that you all will be able to encourage me and be my moral support as I start my new, healthier, lifestyle.